Morning Roundup

In today’s news, Amazon puts down roots in Hillsboro, Oregon announces state retirement plan and ODFW receives approval for Cascade Locks water rights transfer.

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1. Amazon leases sorting center in Hillsboro

Construction begins on the 300,000 square feet space this week, the Portland Business Journal reports. To staff the new sorting and distribution center, Amazon announced it will hire 1,000 new employees to work on-site. The move is the most recent in Amazon’s expansion to Portland. The commerce giant recently opened its third Amazon Books shop at Washington Square, and acquired Portland’s Elemental Technologies last year. Among other things, the flurry of Amazon activity should translate into faster delivery to the Portland area.

2. Oregon explores state-sponsored retirement plan

The Oregon State Treasury released a proposed plan to implement a savings plan for workers not covered by a pension plan or employer-sponsored 401(k), the Bend Bulletin reports. The plan would cover about 60% of Oregon workers (1 million people). The savings plan would be managed through employers, but employers would not be required to contribute to savings plans or pay fees to manage the accounts. The treasury is holding work sessions this winter to further discuss the plan.

3. State approves Cascade Locks water rights transfer

The approval comes despite the county voting against Nestle’s proposed bottling plant. The water rights transfer was a crucial piece of the plan. The approval will allow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to transfer its Oxbow Springs water rights to Cascade Locks. The city could then sell water to Nestle, KGW reports. 

4. New air cargo service in Portland

Cathay Pacific Airways launched an international freighter service at PDX. The Hong Kong service will operate twice a week, the Portland Business Journal reports. Port of Portland Director Bill Wyatt says the cargo service was made possible by shipping demands from companies like Nike.

5. Developers argue affordable housing mandate unrealistic

TMT Development and VWR Development say they’ve stopped buying Portland property due to the proposed mandatory affordable housing rules, the Portland Tribune reports. The proposed mandate would require developments with more than 20 residential units to earmark 20% of the property for affordable housing. Developers say the proposal can only work if the city adds an additional incentive.

6. Zidell misses construction deadlines

Zidell is in charge of a city-funded development project on the South Waterfront to redevelop 30 acres. The firm isn’t contractually obligated to meet the city’s deadlines, but the Oregonian reports they haven’t announced when construction would begin. The deadline to start on an apartment project was Dec. 31. The city’s urban renewal agency has promised $24 million toward the project.

7. Behind the scenes at a cannabis testing lab

A tour of Green Leaf Lab, the first cannabis lab in Oregon to receive state accreditation. The first in a two-part series.